Arthur Rimbaud

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Arthur Rimbaud

Rimbaud, aged 17, by Étienne Carjat, "probably taken in
December 1871".
[1]

Born
Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud
20 October 1854
Charleville, France
Died
10 November 1891 (aged 37)
Marseille, France
Occupation Poet
Nationality French
Literary movement Symbolism, Decadent Movement

Influences[show]

Influenced[show]

Signature
Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud
bo]; 20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891) was a
Ardennes, he produced his works while still in his late teens
him at the time as "an infant Shakespeare"
before the age of 20. As part of the
literature, music, and arts, and prefigured
He was known to have been a
continents before his death from
Contents
• 1 Life
o 1.1 Family and childhood (1854
o 1.2 Schooling and teen years (1862
o 1.3 Life with Verlaine (1871
o 1.4 Travels (1875
o 1.5 Abyssinia (1880
o 1.6 Death (1891)
• 2 Poetry
• 3 Works
• 4 Cultural legacy
• 5 References
o 5.1 Notes
o 5.2 Secondary sources
• 6 External links
Life
Family and childhood (1854
Arthur Rimbaud was born into the provincial middle class of Charleville (now part of
Charleville-Mézières) in the
second child of a career soldier, Frédéric Rimbaud, and his wife Marie
Vitalie Cuif.
[2]
His father, a
recruit to the rank of captain, and spent the greater part of his army years in foreign
service.
[3]
Captain Rimbaud fought in the



Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (/ræm'bou/ or /'ræmbou/; French pronunciation:
10 November 1891) was a French poet. Born in
, he produced his works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo
time as "an infant Shakespeare"—and he gave up creative writing altogether
before the age of 20. As part of the decadent movement, Rimbaud influenced modern
sic, and arts, and prefigured surrealism.
He was known to have been a libertine and a restless soul, traveling extensi
continents before his death from cancer just after his 37th birthday.
1.1 Family and childhood (1854–1861)
1.2 Schooling and teen years (1862–1871)
1.3 Life with Verlaine (1871–1875)
1.4 Travels (1875–1880)
1.5 Abyssinia (1880–1891)
h (1891)
5.2 Secondary sources
Family and childhood (1854–1861)
Arthur Rimbaud was born into the provincial middle class of Charleville (now part of
) in the Ardennes département in northeastern France. He was the
second child of a career soldier, Frédéric Rimbaud, and his wife Marie-Catherine
His father, a Burgundian of Provençal extraction, rose from a simpl
recruit to the rank of captain, and spent the greater part of his army years in foreign
Captain Rimbaud fought in the conquest of Algeria and was awarded the
French pronunciation: [autyu
poet. Born in Charleville,
Victor Hugo described
and he gave up creative writing altogether
, Rimbaud influenced modern
and a restless soul, traveling extensively on three
Arthur Rimbaud was born into the provincial middle class of Charleville (now part of
in northeastern France. He was the
Catherine-
extraction, rose from a simple
recruit to the rank of captain, and spent the greater part of his army years in foreign
and was awarded the
Légion d'honneur. The Cuif family was a solidly established Ardennais family, but they
were plagued by unstable and bohemian characters; two of Arthur Rimbaud's uncles
from his mother's side were alcoholics.
[4]

Captain Rimbaud and Vitalie married in February 1853; in the following November
came the birth of their first child, Jean-Nicolas-Frederick. The next year, on 20 October
1854, Jean-Nicolas-Arthur was born. Three more children, Victorine-Pauline-Vitalie
(who died a month after she was born), Jeanne-Rosalie-Vitalie and Frederique-Marie-
Isabelle, followed. Arthur Rimbaud's infancy is said to have been prodigious; a common
myth states that soon after his birth he had rolled onto the floor from a cushion where
his nurse had put him only to begin crawling toward the door.
[5]
In a more realistic
retelling of his childhood, Mme Rimbaud recalled when after putting her second son in
the care of a nurse in Gespunsart, supplying clean linen and a cradle for him, she
returned to find the nurse's child sitting in the crib wearing the clothes meant for Arthur.
Meanwhile, the dirty and naked child that was her own was happily playing in an old
salt chest.
[6]

Soon after the birth of Isabelle, when Arthur was six years old, Captain Rimbaud left to
join his regiment in Cambrai and never returned.
[7]
He had become irritated by
domesticity and the presence of the children while Madame Rimbaud was determined to
rear and educate her family by herself.
[8]
The young Arthur Rimbaud was therefore
under the complete governance of his mother, a strict Catholic, who raised him and his
older brother and younger sisters in a stern and religious household. After her husband's
departure, Mme Rimbaud became known as "Widow Rimbaud".
[7]

Schooling and teen years (1862–1871)
Fearing that her children were spending too much time with and being over-influenced
by neighbouring children of the poor, Mme Rimbaud moved her family to the Cours
d'Orléans in 1862.
[9]
This was a better neighborhood, and whereas the boys were
previously taught at home by their mother, they were then sent, at the ages of nine and
eight, to the Pension Rossat. For the five years that they attended school, however, their
formidable mother still imposed her will upon them, pushing for scholastic success. She
would punish her sons by making them learn a hundred lines of Latin verse by heart and
if they gave an inaccurate recitation, she would deprive them of meals.
[10]
When Arthur
was nine, he wrote a 700-word essay objecting to his having to learn Latin in school.
Vigorously condemning a classical education as a mere gateway to a salaried position,
Rimbaud wrote repeatedly, "I will be a rentier (one who lives off his assets)".
[10]
He
disliked schoolwork and his mother's continued control and constant supervision; the
children were not allowed to leave their mother's sight, and, until the boys were sixteen
and fifteen respectively, she would walk them home from the school grounds.
[11]


Rimbaud, aged 12, on the day of his
As a boy, Arthur was small, brown
"eyes of pale blue irradiated with dark blue
was eleven, Arthur had his
nature, he was an ardent Catholic like his mother. For this reason he was called "sale
petit Cagot" ("snotty little prig") by his fellow schoolboys.
sent to the Collège de Charleville for school that same year. Until this time, his reading
was confined almost entirely to the
of adventure such as the novels of
became a highly successful student and was he
and mathematics. Many of his schoolmasters remarked upon the young student's ability
to absorb great quantities of material. In 1869 he won eight first prizes in the school,
including the prize for Religious Edu
When he had reached the third class, Mme Rimbaud, hoping for a brilliant scholastic
future for her second son, hired a tutor, Father
Lhéritier succeeded in sparking the young scholar's love of Greek and Latin as well as
French classical literature. He was also the first
original verse in both French and Latin.
"Les Étrennes des orphelins" ("The Orphans' New Year'
the 2 January 1870 issue of
a new teacher named Georges Izambard
became Rimbaud's literary mentor and soon a close accord formed between professor
and student and Rimbaud for a short time saw Izambard as a kind of
figure.
[21]
At the age of fifteen, Rimbaud was showing maturity as a poet; the first poem
he showed Izambard, "Ophélie", would later be included in anthologies as one
Rimbaud's three or four best poems.
Izambard left Charleville and Rimbaud became despondent. He ran away to Paris with
no money for his ticket and was subsequently arrested and imprisoned for a week. After
returning home, Rimbaud ran away to escape his mother's wrath.

Rimbaud, aged 12, on the day of his First Communion.
[12]

As a boy, Arthur was small, brown-haired and pale with what a childhood friend called
"eyes of pale blue irradiated with dark blue—the loveliest eyes I've seen".
was eleven, Arthur had his First Communion; despite his intellectual and individualistic
nature, he was an ardent Catholic like his mother. For this reason he was called "sale
" ("snotty little prig") by his fellow schoolboys.
[14]
He and his brother were
sent to the Collège de Charleville for school that same year. Until this time, his reading
was confined almost entirely to the Bible,
[15]
but he also enjoyed fairy tales and stories
of adventure such as the novels of James Fenimore Cooper and Gustave Aimard
became a highly successful student and was head of his class in all subjects but sciences
and mathematics. Many of his schoolmasters remarked upon the young student's ability
to absorb great quantities of material. In 1869 he won eight first prizes in the school,
including the prize for Religious Education, and in 1870 he won seven firsts.
When he had reached the third class, Mme Rimbaud, hoping for a brilliant scholastic
future for her second son, hired a tutor, Father Ariste Lhéritier, for private lessons.
Lhéritier succeeded in sparking the young scholar's love of Greek and Latin as well as
French classical literature. He was also the first person to encourage the boy to write
original verse in both French and Latin.
[19]
Rimbaud's first poem to appear in print was
"Les Étrennes des orphelins" ("The Orphans' New Year's Gift"), which was published in
the 2 January 1870 issue of Revue pour tous.
[20]
Two weeks after his poem was printed,
Georges Izambard arrived at the Collège de Charleville. Izambard
became Rimbaud's literary mentor and soon a close accord formed between professor
and student and Rimbaud for a short time saw Izambard as a kind of older brother
At the age of fifteen, Rimbaud was showing maturity as a poet; the first poem
he showed Izambard, "Ophélie", would later be included in anthologies as one
Rimbaud's three or four best poems.
[22]
When the Franco-Prussian War broke out,
left Charleville and Rimbaud became despondent. He ran away to Paris with
no money for his ticket and was subsequently arrested and imprisoned for a week. After
returning home, Rimbaud ran away to escape his mother's wrath.
haired and pale with what a childhood friend called
eyes I've seen".
[13]
When he
d individualistic
nature, he was an ardent Catholic like his mother. For this reason he was called "sale
He and his brother were
sent to the Collège de Charleville for school that same year. Until this time, his reading
but he also enjoyed fairy tales and stories
Gustave Aimard.
[16]
He
ad of his class in all subjects but sciences
and mathematics. Many of his schoolmasters remarked upon the young student's ability
to absorb great quantities of material. In 1869 he won eight first prizes in the school,
cation, and in 1870 he won seven firsts.
[17]

When he had reached the third class, Mme Rimbaud, hoping for a brilliant scholastic
Ariste Lhéritier, for private lessons.
[18]

Lhéritier succeeded in sparking the young scholar's love of Greek and Latin as well as
person to encourage the boy to write
Rimbaud's first poem to appear in print was
s Gift"), which was published in
Two weeks after his poem was printed,
arrived at the Collège de Charleville. Izambard
became Rimbaud's literary mentor and soon a close accord formed between professor
older brother
At the age of fifteen, Rimbaud was showing maturity as a poet; the first poem
he showed Izambard, "Ophélie", would later be included in anthologies as one of
broke out,
left Charleville and Rimbaud became despondent. He ran away to Paris with
no money for his ticket and was subsequently arrested and imprisoned for a week. After
From late October 1870, Rimbaud
alcohol, spoke rudely, composed scatological poems, stole books from local shops, and
abandoned his hitherto characteristically neat appearance by allowing his hair to grow
long.
[23]
At the same time he wrote to Izambard about his method for attaining poetical
transcendence or visionary power through a "long, intimidating, immense and rational
derangement of all the senses. The suf
born a poet, and I have recognized myself as a poet."
joined the Paris Commune of 1871, which he portrayed in his poem
(ou : Paris se repeuple), ("The Parisian Orgy" or "Paris Repopulates"). Another poem,
Le cœur volé ("The Stolen Heart"), is often interpreted as a description of him bei
raped by drunken Communard
support the Communards and wrote poems sympathetic to their aims.
Life with Verlaine (1871

Plaque in Brussels


Caricature of Rimbaud drawn by Verlaine in 1872.
From late October 1870, Rimbaud's behaviour became outwardly provocative; he drank
alcohol, spoke rudely, composed scatological poems, stole books from local shops, and
abandoned his hitherto characteristically neat appearance by allowing his hair to grow
At the same time he wrote to Izambard about his method for attaining poetical
transcendence or visionary power through a "long, intimidating, immense and rational
derangement of all the senses. The sufferings are enormous, but one must be strong, be
born a poet, and I have recognized myself as a poet."
[24]
It is rumoured that he briefly
of 1871, which he portrayed in his poem L'orgie parisienne
, ("The Parisian Orgy" or "Paris Repopulates"). Another poem,
("The Stolen Heart"), is often interpreted as a description of him bei
Communard soldiers, but this is unlikely since Rimbaud continued to
support the Communards and wrote poems sympathetic to their aims.
[25]

Life with Verlaine (1871–1875)

Caricature of Rimbaud drawn by Verlaine in 1872.
's behaviour became outwardly provocative; he drank
alcohol, spoke rudely, composed scatological poems, stole books from local shops, and
abandoned his hitherto characteristically neat appearance by allowing his hair to grow
At the same time he wrote to Izambard about his method for attaining poetical
transcendence or visionary power through a "long, intimidating, immense and rational
ferings are enormous, but one must be strong, be
It is rumoured that he briefly
L'orgie parisienne
, ("The Parisian Orgy" or "Paris Repopulates"). Another poem,
("The Stolen Heart"), is often interpreted as a description of him being
soldiers, but this is unlikely since Rimbaud continued to

Rimbaud was encouraged by friend and office employee Charles Auguste Bretagne to
write to Paul Verlaine, an eminent
garner replies.
[26]
Taking his advice, Rimbaud sent Verlaine two letters containing
several of his poems, including the hypnotic, gradually shocking "Le Dormeur du Val"
(The Sleeper in the Valley), in which certain facets of Nature are depicted and called
upon to comfort an apparently sleeping soldier. Verlaine, who was intrigued by
Rimbaud, sent a reply that s
you," along with a one-way ticket to Paris.
at Verlaine's invitation and resided b
married to the seventeen-year
job and taken up drinking. In later published
Verlaine described him at the age of seventeen as having "the real head of a child,
chubby and fresh, on a big, bony rather clumsy body of a still
whose voice, with a very strong Ardennes
and lows as if it were breaking."
Rimbaud and Verlaine began a short and torrid affair. Whereas Verlaine had likely
engaged in prior homosexual
with Verlaine was Rimbaud's first. During their time together they led a wild,
vagabond-like life spiced by
literary coterie on account of the outrageous behaviour of Rimbaud, the
enfant terrible, who throughout this period continued to write strikingly
The stormy relationship between Rimbaud and Verlaine eventually brought them to
London in September 1872,
regret. During this time, Verlaine abandoned his wife and infant son (both of whom he
had abused in his alcoholic rages). Rimbaud and Verlaine lived in considerable poverty,
in Bloomsbury and in Camden Town
addition to an allowance from Verlaine's mother.
Reading Room of the British Museum
free."
[32]
The relationship between the two poets grew increasingly

Verlaine (far left) and Rimbaud (second to left) depicted in a 1872 painting by
Fantin-Latour
By late June 1873, Verlaine grew frustrated with the relationship and returned to Paris,
where he quickly began to mourn Rimbaud's absence. On 8 July, he telegraphed
Rimbaud, instructing him to come to the Hotel Liège in
Rimbaud was encouraged by friend and office employee Charles Auguste Bretagne to
, an eminent Symbolist poet, after letters to other poets failed to
Taking his advice, Rimbaud sent Verlaine two letters containing
ncluding the hypnotic, gradually shocking "Le Dormeur du Val"
(The Sleeper in the Valley), in which certain facets of Nature are depicted and called
upon to comfort an apparently sleeping soldier. Verlaine, who was intrigued by
Rimbaud, sent a reply that stated, "Come, dear great soul. We await you; we desire
way ticket to Paris.
[27]
Rimbaud arrived in late September 1871
at Verlaine's invitation and resided briefly in Verlaine's home.
[28]
Verlaine, who was
year-old and pregnant Mathilde Mauté, had recently left his
job and taken up drinking. In later published recollections of his first sight of Rimbaud,
Verlaine described him at the age of seventeen as having "the real head of a child,
chubby and fresh, on a big, bony rather clumsy body of a still-growing adolescent, and
whose voice, with a very strong Ardennes accent, that was almost a dialect, had highs
and lows as if it were breaking."
[29]

Rimbaud and Verlaine began a short and torrid affair. Whereas Verlaine had likely
homosexual experiences, it remains uncertain whether the relationship
ne was Rimbaud's first. During their time together they led a wild,
like life spiced by absinthe and hashish.
[30]
They scandalized the Parisian
literary coterie on account of the outrageous behaviour of Rimbaud, the archety
, who throughout this period continued to write strikingly visionary
relationship between Rimbaud and Verlaine eventually brought them to
London in September 1872,
[31]
a period about which Rimbaud would later express
regret. During this time, Verlaine abandoned his wife and infant son (both of whom he
had abused in his alcoholic rages). Rimbaud and Verlaine lived in considerable poverty,
Camden Town, scraping a living mostly from teaching, in
addition to an allowance from Verlaine's mother.
[32]
Rimbaud spent his days in the
British Museum where "heating, lighting, pens and ink were
The relationship between the two poets grew increasingly bitter.

Verlaine (far left) and Rimbaud (second to left) depicted in a 1872 painting by
By late June 1873, Verlaine grew frustrated with the relationship and returned to Paris,
where he quickly began to mourn Rimbaud's absence. On 8 July, he telegraphed
Rimbaud, instructing him to come to the Hotel Liège in Brussels; Rimbaud complied at
Rimbaud was encouraged by friend and office employee Charles Auguste Bretagne to
poet, after letters to other poets failed to
Taking his advice, Rimbaud sent Verlaine two letters containing
ncluding the hypnotic, gradually shocking "Le Dormeur du Val"
(The Sleeper in the Valley), in which certain facets of Nature are depicted and called
upon to comfort an apparently sleeping soldier. Verlaine, who was intrigued by
tated, "Come, dear great soul. We await you; we desire
Rimbaud arrived in late September 1871
Verlaine, who was
old and pregnant Mathilde Mauté, had recently left his
recollections of his first sight of Rimbaud,
Verlaine described him at the age of seventeen as having "the real head of a child,
growing adolescent, and
accent, that was almost a dialect, had highs
Rimbaud and Verlaine began a short and torrid affair. Whereas Verlaine had likely
experiences, it remains uncertain whether the relationship
ne was Rimbaud's first. During their time together they led a wild,
They scandalized the Parisian
archetypical
visionary verse.
relationship between Rimbaud and Verlaine eventually brought them to
a period about which Rimbaud would later express
regret. During this time, Verlaine abandoned his wife and infant son (both of whom he
had abused in his alcoholic rages). Rimbaud and Verlaine lived in considerable poverty,
, scraping a living mostly from teaching, in
Rimbaud spent his days in the
where "heating, lighting, pens and ink were
bitter.
Verlaine (far left) and Rimbaud (second to left) depicted in a 1872 painting by Henri
By late June 1873, Verlaine grew frustrated with the relationship and returned to Paris,
where he quickly began to mourn Rimbaud's absence. On 8 July, he telegraphed
; Rimbaud complied at
once.
[33]
The Brussels reunion went badly: they argued continuously and Verlaine took
refuge in heavy drinking.
[33]
ammunition.
[33]
That afternoon, "in a drunken rage," Verlaine fired two shots at
Rimbaud, one of them wounding the 18
Rimbaud dismissed the wound as superficial,
against Verlaine. But shortly after the shooting, Verlaine (and his mother) accompanied
Rimbaud to a Brussels railway station, where Verlaine "beh
His bizarre behavior induced Rimbaud to "fear that he might give himself over to new
excesses,"
[34]
so he turned and ran away. In his words, "it was then I [Rimbaud] begged
a police officer to arrest him [Verlaine]."
and subjected to a humiliating medico
with regard to both his intimate correspondence with Rimbaud and his wife's
accusations about the nature of his relationship with Rimbaud.
withdrew the complaint, but the judge nonetheless sentenced Verlaine to two years in
prison.
[35]

Rimbaud returned home to Charleville and completed his prose work
Enfer ("A Season in Hell")—
modern Symbolist writing—
described as a drôle de ménage
brother") and vierge folle ("mad virgin") to whom he was
groom"). In 1874 he returned to London with the poet
together his groundbreaking
Travels (1875–1880)

Rimbaud (self-portrait) in Harar
Rimbaud and Verlaine met for the last time in March 1875, in
Verlaine's release from prison and his conversion to Catholicism.
had given up writing and decided on a steady, working life; some speculate he was fed
The Brussels reunion went badly: they argued continuously and Verlaine took
[33]
On the morning of 10 July, Verlaine bought a revolver and
fternoon, "in a drunken rage," Verlaine fired two shots at
Rimbaud, one of them wounding the 18-year-old in the left wrist.
[33]

Rimbaud dismissed the wound as superficial, and did not initially seek to file charges
against Verlaine. But shortly after the shooting, Verlaine (and his mother) accompanied
railway station, where Verlaine "behaved as if he were insane."
His bizarre behavior induced Rimbaud to "fear that he might give himself over to new
so he turned and ran away. In his words, "it was then I [Rimbaud] begged
a police officer to arrest him [Verlaine]."
[34]
Verlaine was arrested for attempted murder
subjected to a humiliating medico-legal examination.
[35]
He was also interrogated
with regard to both his intimate correspondence with Rimbaud and his wife's
about the nature of his relationship with Rimbaud.
[35]
Rimbaud eventually
withdrew the complaint, but the judge nonetheless sentenced Verlaine to two years in
Rimbaud returned home to Charleville and completed his prose work Une Saison en
—still widely regarded as one of the pioneering examples of
—which made various allusions to his life with Verlaine,
drôle de ménage ("domestic farce") with his frère pitoyable
("mad virgin") to whom he was l'époux infernal
groom"). In 1874 he returned to London with the poet Germain Nouveau
together his groundbreaking Illuminations.

Harar in 1883.
[37]

d and Verlaine met for the last time in March 1875, in Stuttgart, Germany, after
Verlaine's release from prison and his conversion to Catholicism.
[38]
By then Rimbaud
had given up writing and decided on a steady, working life; some speculate he was fed
The Brussels reunion went badly: they argued continuously and Verlaine took
On the morning of 10 July, Verlaine bought a revolver and
fternoon, "in a drunken rage," Verlaine fired two shots at
and did not initially seek to file charges
against Verlaine. But shortly after the shooting, Verlaine (and his mother) accompanied
aved as if he were insane."
His bizarre behavior induced Rimbaud to "fear that he might give himself over to new
so he turned and ran away. In his words, "it was then I [Rimbaud] begged
Verlaine was arrested for attempted murder
He was also interrogated
with regard to both his intimate correspondence with Rimbaud and his wife's
Rimbaud eventually
withdrew the complaint, but the judge nonetheless sentenced Verlaine to two years in
Une Saison en
still widely regarded as one of the pioneering examples of
which made various allusions to his life with Verlaine,
frère pitoyable ("pitiful
l'époux infernal ("the infernal
Germain Nouveau
[36]
and put
, Germany, after
By then Rimbaud
had given up writing and decided on a steady, working life; some speculate he was fed
up with his former wild living, or that the recklessness itself was his fon
Others suggest he sought to become rich and independent to afford living one day as a
carefree poet and man of letters.
Europe, mostly on foot.
In May 1876 he enlisted as a soldier in the Dutch Colonial Army
charge to Java in the Dutch East Indies
deserted and fled into the jungle, eventually returning incognito to France by ship.
the official residence of the mayor of
volcano located 46 km south of
marble plaque stating that Rimbaud was once settled at the city. As a deserter, Rimbaud
would have faced a Dutch firing squad if caught.
In December 1878, Rimbaud arrived in
construction company as a foreman at a stone quarry.
he had to leave Cyprus because of a fever, which on his return to France was diagnosed
as typhoid.
Abyssinia (1880–1891)
In 1880 Rimbaud finally settled in
agency.
[43]
In 1884 he left his job at Bardey's to become a merchant on his own account
in Harar, Ethiopia, where his commercial dealings notably included coffee and
weapons. In this period, he struck up a very close friendship with the Governor of
Harar, Ras Makonnen, father of future Ethiopian Emperor
Death (1891)

Rimbaud's grave in Charlevil
him").
In February 1891, Rimbaud developed what he initially thought was arthritis in his right
knee.
[45]
It failed to respond to treatment and became agonisingly painful, and by March,
up with his former wild living, or that the recklessness itself was his font of creativity.
Others suggest he sought to become rich and independent to afford living one day as a
carefree poet and man of letters.
[citation needed]
He continued to travel extensively in
In May 1876 he enlisted as a soldier in the Dutch Colonial Army
[39]
to travel free of
Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) where four months later he
deserted and fled into the jungle, eventually returning incognito to France by ship.
the official residence of the mayor of Salatiga, a small city at the foot of a dormant
km south of Semarang, capital of Central Java Province, there is a
stating that Rimbaud was once settled at the city. As a deserter, Rimbaud
would have faced a Dutch firing squad if caught.
[41]

In December 1878, Rimbaud arrived in Larnaca, Cyprus, where he worked for a
construction company as a foreman at a stone quarry.
[42]
In May of the following year
he had to leave Cyprus because of a fever, which on his return to France was diagnosed

In 1880 Rimbaud finally settled in Aden, Yemen as a main employee in the Bardey
In 1884 he left his job at Bardey's to become a merchant on his own account
e his commercial dealings notably included coffee and
weapons. In this period, he struck up a very close friendship with the Governor of
, father of future Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie

Rimbaud's grave in Charleville. The inscription reads simply Priez pour lui
In February 1891, Rimbaud developed what he initially thought was arthritis in his right
It failed to respond to treatment and became agonisingly painful, and by March,
t of creativity.
Others suggest he sought to become rich and independent to afford living one day as a
He continued to travel extensively in
to travel free of
ere four months later he
deserted and fled into the jungle, eventually returning incognito to France by ship.
[40]
At
, a small city at the foot of a dormant
, capital of Central Java Province, there is a
stating that Rimbaud was once settled at the city. As a deserter, Rimbaud
, where he worked for a
In May of the following year
he had to leave Cyprus because of a fever, which on his return to France was diagnosed
as a main employee in the Bardey
In 1884 he left his job at Bardey's to become a merchant on his own account
e his commercial dealings notably included coffee and
weapons. In this period, he struck up a very close friendship with the Governor of
Haile Selassie.
[44]

Priez pour lui ("Pray for
In February 1891, Rimbaud developed what he initially thought was arthritis in his right
It failed to respond to treatment and became agonisingly painful, and by March,
the state of his health forced him to prepare to return to France for treatment.
[45]
In
Aden, Rimbaud consulted a British doctor who mistakenly diagnosed tubercular
synovitis and recommended immediate amputation.
[46]
Rimbaud delayed until 9 May to
set his financial affairs in order before catching the boat back to France.
[46]
On arrival,
he was admitted to hospital — the Hôpital de la Conception, in Marseilles — where his
right leg was amputated on 27 May.
[47]
The post-operative diagnosis was cancer.
[46]

After a short stay at his family home in Charleville, he attempted to travel back to
Africa, but on the way, his health deteriorated, and he was readmitted to the same
hospital in Marseilles where the amputation had been performed and spent some time
there in great pain, attended by his sister Isabelle. Rimbaud died in Marseilles on 10
November 1891 at the age of 37 and was interred in Charleville.
[48]

Poetry
In May 1871, aged 16, Rimbaud wrote two letters explaining his poetic philosophy. The
first was written May 13 to Izambard, in which Rimbaud explained:
I'm now making myself as scummy as I can. Why? I want to be a poet, and I'm working
at turning myself into a seer. You won't understand any of this, and I'm almost
incapable of explaining it to you. The idea is to reach the unknown by the derangement
of all the senses. It involves enormous suffering, but one must be strong and be a born
poet. It's really not my fault.
[49][50]

Rimbaud said much the same in his second letter, commonly called the Lettre du voyant
("Letter of the Seer"). Written May 15—before his first trip to Paris—to his friend Paul
Demeny, the letter expounded his revolutionary theories about poetry and life, while
also denouncing most poets that preceded him. Wishing for new poetic forms and ideas,
he wrote:
I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by a
long, prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of
suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, and
keeps only their quintessences. This is an unspeakable torture during which he needs all
his faith and superhuman strength, and during which he becomes the great patient, the
great criminal, the great accursed – and the great learned one! – among men. – For he
arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his own soul – which was rich to
begin with – more than any other man! He reaches the unknown; and even if, crazed, he
ends up by losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them! Let him
die charging through those unutterable, unnameable things: other horrible workers will
come; they will begin from the horizons where he has succumbed!
[51][52]

Rimbaud expounded the same ideas in his poem, "Le bateau ivre" ("The Drunken
Boat"). This hundred-line poem tells the tale of a boat that breaks free of human society
when its handlers are killed by "Redskins" (Peaux-Rouges). At first thinking that it
drifts where it pleases, it soon realizes that it is being guided by and to the "poem of the
sea". It sees visions both magnificent ("the blue and yellow of singing
phosphorescence", "l'éveil jaune et bleu des phosphores chanteurs",) and disgusting
("nets where a whole Leviathan was rotting" "nasses / Où pourrit dans les joncs tout un
Léviathan). It ends floating and washed clean, wishing only to sink and become one
with the sea.
Archibald MacLeish has commented on this poem: "Anyone who doubts that poetry can
say what prose cannot has only to read the so-called Lettres du Voyant and 'Bateau Ivre'
together. What is pretentious and adolescent in the Lettres is true in the poem—
unanswerably true."
[53]

Rimbaud's poetry influenced the Symbolists, Dadaists and Surrealists, and later writers
adopted not only some of his themes, but also his inventive use of form and language.
French poet Paul Valéry stated that "all known literature is written in the language of
common sense—except Rimbaud's."
[54]

Works
• Le Soleil Était Encore Chaud (1866)
• Poésies (c. 1869–1873)
• Le bateau ivre (1871)
• Proses Évangeliques (1872)
• Une Saison en Enfer (1873) – published by Rimbaud himself as a small booklet
in Brussels. Although "a few copies were distributed to friends in Paris...
Rimbaud almost immediately lost interest in the work."
[55]

• Illuminations (1874)
• Lettres (1870–1891)
Cultural legacy
Main article: Rimbaud and modern culture
Rimbaud's poetry, as well as his life, made an indelible impression on 20th century
writers, musicians and artists. Pablo Picasso, Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsberg, Vladimir
Nabokov, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Giannina Braschi, Léo Ferré, Henry Miller, Van
Morrison and Jim Morrison have been influenced by his poetry and life.
[54]
Rimbaud's
life has been portrayed in several films. Italian filmmaker Nelo Risi's 1970 film Una
stagione all'inferno ("A Season in Hell") starred Terence Stamp as Rimbaud and Jean
Claude Brialy as Paul Verlaine. In 1995 Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland directed
Total Eclipse, which was based on a play by Christopher Hampton who also wrote the
screenplay. The film starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Rimbaud and David Thewlis as Paul
Verlaine.
References
Notes
1. ^ Robb (2000), 140.
2. ^ Ivry (1998), 11.
3. ^ Starkie (1973), 25.
4. ^ Starkie (1973), 28.
5. ^ Starkie (1973), 30.
6. ^ Robb (2000), 8.
7. ^
a

b
Robb (2000), 12.
8. ^ Rickword (1971), 3.
9. ^ Starkie (1973), 33.
10. ^
a

b
Rickword (1971), 4.
11. ^ Starkie (1973), 36.
12. ^ Jeancolas (1998), 26.
13. ^ Ivry (1998), 12.
14. ^ Rickword (1971), 8.
15. ^ Rickword (1971), 9.
16. ^ Starkie (1973), 37.
17. ^ Robb (2000), 32.
18. ^ Starkie (1973), 39.
19. ^ Rimbaud's Ver erat, which he wrote at age 14, at the Latin Library, and an English
translation
[dead link]
thereof.
20. ^ Robb (2000), 30.
21. ^ Steinmetz (2001), 29.
22. ^ Robb (2000), 33–34.
23. ^ Ivry (1998), 22.
24. ^ Ivry (1998), 24.
25. ^ Ivry (1998), 26.
26. ^ Ivry (1998), 29.
27. ^ Robb (2000), 102.
28. ^ Robb (2000), 109.
29. ^ Ivry (1998), 34.
30. ^ Bernard (1991).
31. ^ Robb (2000), 184.
32. ^
a

b
Robb (2000), 196–197.
33. ^
a

b

c

d
Robb (2000), 218–221.
34. ^
a

b
Harding (2004), 160.
35. ^
a

b

c
Robb (2000), 223–224.
36. ^ Robb (2000), 241.
37. ^ Jeancolas (1998), 164.
38. ^ Robb (2000), 264.
39. ^ Robb (2000), 278.
40. ^ Robb (2000), 282–285.
41. ^ James (2011). http://www.asialiteraryreview.com/web/article/en/115
42. ^ Robb (2000), 299.
43. ^ Robb (2000), 313.
44. ^ Nicholl (1999), 231.
45. ^
a

b
Robb (2000), 418–419.
46. ^
a

b

c
Robb (2000), 422–424.
47. ^ Robb (2000), 425–426.
48. ^ Robb (2000), 440–441.
49. ^ Robb (2000), 79–80.
50. ^ "Lettre à Georges Izambard du 13 mai 1871". Abelard.free.fr. Retrieved on May 12, 2011.
51. ^ Kwasny (2004), 147.
52. ^ "A Paul Demeny, 15 mai 1871". Abelard.free.fr. Retrieved on May 12, 2011.
53. ^ MacLeish (1960), 147.
54. ^
a

b
Robb (2000), xiv.
55. ^ Fowlie (2005), xxxii.
Secondary sources
• Adam, Antoine (ed.). (1972). Rimbaud: Œuvres complètes. (French) Paris:
Gallimard/Pléiade. ISBN 978-2-07-010476-5
• Bernard, Suzanne & Guyaux, André. (1991). Œuvres de Rimbaud. (French)
Paris: Classiques Garnier. ISBN 2-04-017399-4
• Capetanakis, D., 'Rimbaud', in
(1947), p.53-71.
• Fowlie, Wallace & Whidden, Seth. (2005).
Letters. University of Chicago Press.
• Harding, Jeremy & Sturrock, John (trans.). (2004).
Poems and Letters. Penguin.
• Ivry, Benjamin. (1998).
1-899791-55-8.
• James, Jamie. (2011) "Rimbaud in Java: The Lost Voyage". Singapore: Ed
Didier Millet. ISBN 978
• Jeancolas, Claude. (1998).
Textuel. ISBN 978-2
• Kwasny, Melissa. (2004).
Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Pres
• Lefrère, Jacques. (2001).
213-60691-0
• Lefrère, Jacques. (2007).
ISBN 978-2-213-63391
• MacLeish, Archibald (1960).
• Nicholl, Charles. (1999).
University of Chicago Press.
• Peyre, Henri. (1974).
Oxford University Press.
• Rickword, Edgell. (1971).
House Publishers. ISBN 0
• Robb, Graham. (2000).
04955-8.
• Schmidt, Paul. [1976].
(HarperCollins), 2000.
• Starkie, Enid. (1973).
10440-1.
• Steinmetz, Jean-Luc. (2001). Jon Graham (trans).
an Enigma. New York: Welcome Rain Publishers.
• White, Edmund. (2008).
ISBN 978-1-84354-
External links
Biography
portal
Poetry portal

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
French Wikisource
Arthur Rimbaud
Capetanakis, D., 'Rimbaud', in Demetrios Capetanakis A Greek Poet In England
Fowlie, Wallace & Whidden, Seth. (2005). Rimbaud, Complete Works, Selected
. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-71977-4.
Harding, Jeremy & Sturrock, John (trans.). (2004). Arthur Rimbaud: Selected
. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-044802-0.
Ivry, Benjamin. (1998). Arthur Rimbaud. Bath, Somerset: Absolute Press.
James, Jamie. (2011) "Rimbaud in Java: The Lost Voyage". Singapore: Ed
ISBN 978-981-4260-82-4.
. (1998). Passion Rimbaud: L'Album d'une vie.
2-909317-66-3
Kwasny, Melissa. (2004). Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry
Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0-8195-6606
Lefrère, Jacques. (2001). Arthur Rimbaud. (French) Paris: Fayard.
Lefrère, Jacques. (2007). Correspondance de Rimbaud. (French)
63391-6
MacLeish, Archibald (1960). Poetry and Experience. Baltimore:
Nicholl, Charles. (1999). Somebody Else: Arthur Rimbaud in Africa 1880
University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-58029-6.
Peyre, Henri. (1974). A Season in Hell and The Illuminations. New York:
Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-501760-9.
Rickword, Edgell. (1971). Rimbaud: The Boy and the Poet. New York: Haskell
ISBN 0-8383-1309-4.
Robb, Graham. (2000). Rimbaud. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Schmidt, Paul. [1976]. Rimbaud, Complete Works. New York: Perennial
(HarperCollins), 2000. ISBN 978-0-06-095550-2.
Starkie, Enid. (1973). Arthur Rimbaud. London: Faber and Faber.
Luc. (2001). Jon Graham (trans). Arthur Rimbaud: Presence of
. New York: Welcome Rain Publishers. ISBN 1-56649
. (2008). Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel. London: Grove.
-971-0
has a collection of quotations related to: Arthur Rimbaud
Wikisource has original text related to this article:

Demetrios Capetanakis A Greek Poet In England
Rimbaud, Complete Works, Selected
Arthur Rimbaud: Selected
. Bath, Somerset: Absolute Press. ISBN
James, Jamie. (2011) "Rimbaud in Java: The Lost Voyage". Singapore: Editions
. (French) Paris:
Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry.
6606-3.
Paris: Fayard. ISBN 978-2-
(French) Paris: Fayard.
Penguin.
Somebody Else: Arthur Rimbaud in Africa 1880–91.
. New York:
. New York: Haskell
. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-
. New York: Perennial
. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-
Arthur Rimbaud: Presence of
56649-106-1.
. London: Grove.
Arthur Rimbaud
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